Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Dangerous Fatwas

And just in case anyone thought fatwas were very consequential in the Muslim world:
‘Mujahideen’ of Bajaur Agency warned clerics on Monday that if they do not take back the fatwa against suicide bombing, they should prepare to face the consequences.

Bajaur, you will recall, is not one of the areas which the Pakistani army ceded to the militants after its defeat last year. However, the army's withdrawal has seen a large increase in militant activity in the district, which has prompted local tribal leaders to call for raising their own militia to protect against the Taleban-inspired militants.

Local clerics had issued the fatwa amidst growing concern that the retreat of the army had left the area vulnerable to the militants. Alas, it doesn't seem to have had the desired effect:
The militants also disputed the clerics’ decree that Islam “does not allow intimidation,” saying this opinion should also be withdrawn. “Those who are working against the interests of mujahideen or defaming us should stop doing so,” the pamphlet warns.

So what we have here is an attempt to intimidate clerics into saying that intimidation is permissible. Ah, the ways of holy war are mysterious indeed.


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